Chocolate, Peach, and Pecan Tarts

Garnished with fresh peach slices and toasted pecans, this is a summertime twist on my recipe for mini tarts with Greek yogurt mousse and chocolate shortbread crust. For the filling, which is a lighter, healthier version of chocolate mousse, I swapped Greek yogurt for quark, a yogurt-like cheese from Germany. Creamy and slightly tangy, quark…

Pesto-Coated Garlic Knots

In my latest column in The Knockturnal, I wrote about a new fixture at my weekly pizza nights: garlic knots brushed with two coats of extra-garlicky basil and walnut pesto, one before baking and one right after. The  pesto adds oomph to this classic pizza accompaniment, which is simple (and fun) to prepare at home using pizza…

Mini “Everything” Pretzel Rolls

The idea for these flavorful pretzel rolls came to me when I tutored a group of children over the summer. After weeks of providing store-bought pretzels as a snack, I decided to surprise the kids with a homemade treat. I adapted my favorite soft pretzel recipe from Chowhound, and added some “everything” bagel seasonings: dried onion…

Black Sesame Sandwich Cookies with Dark Chocolate Filling

For my birthday this year, a friend surprised me with a black sesame cake filled with layers of chocolate ganache. Inspired by those flavors, I incorporated black sesame, an Asian ingredient used in ice cream in Japan, as well as glutinous rice dumplings and sweet soup in China, into a classic American dessert: the sandwich cookie, made popular…

Peach Burrata Pizza

A friend and I came up with the idea for this pizza in the middle of winter, and waited until a July afternoon to prepare it. We brushed a homemade pizza crust with olive oil, sliced some peaches, and spooned on creamy burrata, an Italian cheese made from buffalo milk mozzarella filled with curd and cream….

Yogurt Plum Squares with Date Almond Crust

The other day, I saw ripe yellow plums on display at my local fruit and vegetable market, and couldn’t resist buying a whole bag of them. Every summer, the shop’s owner picks up fresh produce from farms just outside New York, and the plums were among the crops that had recently been harvested. It was…

Chocolate Raspberry Rugelach

Rugelach, an Eastern European Jewish pastry, means “little twists” in Yiddish.  With their crescent shape and flaky, buttery crust, these  bite-size treats are cousins of the French croissant. They are typically filled with fruit preserves, cinnamon, nuts and/ or chocolate. When I set out to make rugelach at home (having long eaten rugelach at bakeries, I…

Blueberry Almond Buttermilk Muffins

I took my favorite buttermilk muffin recipe, from the cookbook Clueless Baker by Evelyn Raab, and added almond extract, fresh blueberries, and a crumb topping adapted from a recipe by Tutti Dolci. In place of store-bought buttermilk, I stirred together milk and lemon juice, and let the mixture turn acidic and curdle. Buttermilk lends tanginess and…

Basil, Walnut, and Ricotta Pizza

The other day, I was craving one of my favorite pizza toppings – homemade basil and walnut pesto – but my food processor had broken, and the new one had yet to arrive in the mail. So I prepared a pizza with deconstructed pesto: whole basil leaves, coarsely chopped walnuts, and grated Parmesan, sprinkled over a layer…

Coconut Vanilla Pancakes

Coconut adds texture and fragrance to these dessert-like pancakes, which are the invention of one of the students in my after-school cooking class. On a recent afternoon, I set out to teach the kids how to make a simple pancake recipe by Mark Bittman. A creative young chef added shredded coconut to the batter and…

Peanut Butter and Dark Chocolate Biscotti

I recently wrote a column for The Knockturnal about my latest cookie creation: biscotti with a subtle peanut butter flavor and bursts of dark chocolate. With a high fat content from the peanut butter and nearly a stick of butter, these are less crisp than traditional Italian biscotti, which typically only contain the fat from eggs.  Prepared…

Poppy Seed Apricot Squares

I got the inspiration for these bar cookies from a visit to a Romanian bakery in New York City, where I tried a pastry filled with a thick layer of poppy seeds. Popular in Eastern European cooking, poppy seeds can be sprinkled on bread rolls, mixed with noodles, or combined with milk, sugar, and other ingredients to…